Nov 29, 2010


I love Christmas. There are no two ways about it. I love the whole season. In our home, we strive to make it a season of peacefulness, reflection, gratitude and giving. I love nothing more than to have greenery throughout the house, candles glowing, white lights twinkling, yumminess baking and a manger scene in every nook and cranny! Even after 4 days away, two thanksgiving, two birthdays and our whole family getting sick, I couldn't help but bust out the decorations!
Last night was the first night of advent. Sure, it's still a bit lost on Ella, but she does love to light the candles and open the door to the advent calendar. And her most requested song these days is "baby jesus song." (Born in Bethlehem by Third Day)Ella aslo really enjoys playing with the manger scenes and can often be heard saying, "I pay (play) baby jesus". This is our "giving basket" filled with homemade applebutter to give away during the season. We'll involve Ella and teach her about giving by letting her hand them out.
This year, as in every other, our pennies are pinched. But once again, we feel so blessed and provided for in every way! Spiritually, emotionally, socially, and materially! Praise God! I cannot tell you how excited I am to have a banister to drape garland down! I've always wanted one! This is the biggest tree we've ever gotten! Our celings are 9 ft. high if that gives you some perspective. Oh how I wish I could send the smell of fresh pine right through cyberspace into your home! And we have a hearth to decorate! A hearth with a cozy roaring fire beneath it. We ar so fortunate and I am grateful every second of every day...realizing that none of it is mine. It is on lend from the Great Providor and I am just it's steward for a short time.

Nov 23, 2010

A Thankful Heart

Our (many) bags are packed and we're ready to go! After a lovely accountability time with two of my fave ladies, this little family is hitting the road for Thanksgiving. We're visiting some friends we don't get to see often, stopping at Nanny's house for two days and then off to Gamma's house for another few. Although traveling can wear us out, we're excited to kick off this Holiday season and we're going to focus on all the fun things about raod trips!

This time of year more than any other has me focusing on all the things I am grateful for. Although life is not without stresses and struggles at times, the stresses and struggles I deal with PALE in comparison to 99% of the world. My heart is bursting with gratitude for all that I am blessed with. It leaves me humbled thinking, why me? Why was I born into my family, in this country, with this health, with all the opportunities I've been afforded all my life? Why have I been so blessed with this husband, this daughter, this church, these friends, this home? I won't sit here and ponderm that too long. I'll just thank God for it, and do all that I can do to use what I've been given to help others.

My heart is so thankful. And we are being intentional in cultivating a thankful heart in our little love. When I asked Ella what she wants to thank God for this is what she said:
Gamma's house
dis food
a mountin
happy birfday you

I have no words for what that does to my heart. No words! What are you thankful for!?

Nov 22, 2010

How Are You Keeping Christ In Christmas?

It saddens me just how much Christmas has become about presents and all things material. Every fiber of my being desires to keep Christ at the center of our family's Christmas. After all, that is what Christmas is all about, the one most precious gift that is the exact opposite of material. The birth of our Savior who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could have the ultimate gift...unconditional love, grace, forgiveness, eternal life. That gift will not break, will not go out of style, and will never be outgrown.

If you want ONE great way to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas I suggest ADVENT.

Advent means "coming". For the entire month leading up to Christmas you prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth, His first coming. There is a spirit of anticipation, excitement and longing.

Here is what we plan to do to make it toddler friendly: Each night we're going to light the appropriate candle, read a small snippet out of this family advent book my mom got us, and open one window on the advent calendar.

(PS: Thanks to some routine we've put in place after reading Toddlerwise and having our family doctor encourage us to do family devotions, we now have have a two year old that says "Voshon Time!" with joy after each meal, prays and generally listents quite well while we do the daily bread each night)

Here are some other things we plan to do to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas:

  • Sheild ourselves from commercialism by keeping the TV off and recycling store flyers and catalogues as soon as they come.
  • Continually talk about the true meaning of Christmas...for Christmas is Jesus' Birthday and make Him a birthday cake!
  • Put out all of our manger scenes but keep the baby Jesus' out of them. On Christmas morning make a big deal over "Baby Jesus was born today!!!" and go put all the baby Jesus' into their manger scenes to symbolize this.
This is the first year that I've been coming up with ideas to keep Christ in Christmas tailored to a toddler because last year Ella was too young to understand. However, this year she is SO aware and we're loving it and being intentional from the very beginning. I want many, many more ideas than I already have!

So PLEASE comment and tell me the ways your family keeps Christ in Christmas!

Nov 20, 2010


I sure didn't break any land speed records, but I accomplished my goal: Finish 5k. Don't walk. I actually ran it 2 minutes faster than I'd ever run it in training. I also took second place in my age group! (No. I will not tell you how many people were in my age group, but it was more than 2! I'll go to my grave with the secret! You'll never know!...unless you look up the results on but whatev!)

All of that, and I'd only run once in the last month! I feel pretty darn good 'bout that!

You see the Oct. 30th race that I was diligently training for was canceled!!! I found out like 3 days before the race. I was quite disappointed and promptly sat my bum on my couch and ate cookies...Then I got sick...then I got better...then I contemplated finding another race...then I ate some more cookies while watching America's Next Top Model...then I found a race and signed up for it....then I got sick...then I got better....then I ran once...then I went to the race this morning.

Here's my super expert race report:
-I was really stinkin' nervous. I peed aproximately 100,000 times in the 1/2 hour before the race.
-It was a low key race. The gun went off and so did I.
-I started at what felt like my normal pace. I passed some people. I liked that.
-At probably the 1/2 mile mark I thought, "Whoah Nelly, simmer down. I don't think you can keep this up for another 2 1/2 miles."
-One woman I had passed, then passed me. I didn't like that.
-I saw a deer run through the woods. It was pretty.
-There were no mile markers. I had never seen the course before. I had no idea how far I'd gone and I was kind of hurtin'.
-I decided to try to keep pace with the woman ahead of me in a turqoise shirt. That was helpful.
-I got to a point where I was pretty sure I had not long to go and thought. "Oh wow, it's almost over. That was fast. I'll pick it up a little."
-Right at the finish line my hubby and little lady were cheering me on. That was the best!
-I finished in 33:18 and felt totally great and thought, "I probably could have run faster. Yay me!"
-Then Ella ran into my arms. That was THE best.
-Then she ran in circles and said, "I runnin'! Mama do it too!" And then I ran in circles with Ella. That was THE best best!

I'd like to also give the hugest shout out to my friend Krissy who ran today as well and accomplished her goal! We started this together and we saw it through to the end! I think I was more excited when I saw her cresting over the last hill than I was when I saw the finish line myself! There was hugging. There were tears. It was fabulous. I'm hooked! So which race are we running next Krissy!?
Here's some photos!
Me, super duper nervous, putting on a corny happy face before walking out the door!And they're off!Woo Hoo! Coming down the home stretch being cheered on by my two loves! Smiling for the camera. (Thanks for the great pictures hon!)And finishing! Yay!Here's Krissy coming down the homestretch. Here's Krissy when we told her the finish line was just around the corner! I do believe she yelled an explative and took off like lightning! Love it!And here we are. Happy, accomplished, and with ribbons none the less!Did I mention Krissy really likes ribbons!?

Nov 18, 2010

Man Shopping

(DISCLAIMER: Please don't think I'm not grateful for the wonderful hubby I have. I am!!! But you just have to laugh about things in life because they're true...and funny! I have permission to laugh along!)

No, I'm not talking about shopping for a man.
For this post Grocery shopping shall be defined as: When I go grocery shopping.
And Man Shopping shall be defined as: When Jason goes shopping...for anything...that I've asked him to get.

Ladies, you know what I'm talking about don't you?

Have you ever noticed how a grocery store has the inate power to strike fear into the minds of otherwise brilliant men, rendering them helpless and paralyzed to accurately follow even the most detailed list? I mean, this must literally be what men see as they stand in the aisles.

Seriously. There's GOT to be some force field around every store that sells groceries, or some weird 3rd dimension that only men fall into when they cross the threshhold through those automatic sliding doors. That's the only explanation I can think of for my husband's inability to read, obtain and come home with the items I put down on a list. The man is an engineer. He's responsible for writing the instructions on how to fix our Navy's Submarines....ya know, those silly old contraptions that take thousands of our armed forces gazillions of feet under the ocean waters to keep our nation safe. And yet...when the man goes grocery shopping.....

Tuesday, bless his heart, Jason volunteered to shop while I went and got an (8 month overdue) haircut. I gave him a list. It had details. For heaven's sake it had details! The flippin' list took me just as long to write as it would have taken me to actually go and shop myself. It specified flavors, sizes, name brand or store brand...dang, I even drew pictures of the tough stuff! And still...still THIS's just a small sampling:

-I wrote 1 peach or nectarine
-He came home with 6 tangerines...(of which we already have an entire bag in the fridge.)

-I wrote fruitables - VERY BERRY (because that's the only kind Ella likes)
-He came home with fruitables a kind she won't drink. (he insisted I did not specify until I showed him the list and he was like, "Oh. Yup. There it is. Very Berry. In bold.")

-I wrote ORGANIC whole milk 1/2 gallon (because that's the kind a size Ella and the little girl I babysit drink)
-He came home with one pint regular whole milk (he had not even an veiled defense or explanation to offer on that one)

-I wrote 3 pkgs active dry yeast (I even drew a picture of what the packages look like and wrote "each pkg. has three sections. I need 3 pgks")
-He came home with one package because "it's got three sections! I thought that was three!"

-I wrote Bread Flour (And had an entire conversation about this one before he left because I KNEW he'd come home with regular flour)
-He came home with NOTHING (He insists the grocery store - where I buy my bread flour every month - does NOT carry bread flour)

-I wrote Some Hearty Bread to eat with soups and dinners (woe to me for not giving some more specific instruction or diagram for that one)
-He came home with THREE different kinds because he says he didn' t know what I meant.

And that my friens is the difference between Grocery Shopping and Man Shopping.

Nov 15, 2010

My Worst Nightmare

Well folks, it finally worst nightmare came true. We had a potluck (the TRUE kind where nobody tells anyone else what they're brining) might want to sit down for this...every single person brought ORANGE JELL-O. Seriously. I'm still a little traumatized. Trying to recover from the horror.

Actually, it was a joke...on me. And quite funny when I actually picked up on it. You see, my fabulous husband planned a little birthday lunch get-together yesterday afternoon...unbenonced to me (I figured it out 'bout an hour before hand). As our friends started arriving one by one, they each put a bowl of orange jell-o on the counter. In my head I was totally thinking, "Oh my gosh this is a disaster! How in the world would everybody bring the SAME thing!? And orange Jell-o no less!?" But on the outside I was all smiles and, "Oh my gosh, you brought some too!? That's so funny." Until it finally dawned on me that this was just a cruel trick! Yeah, it's a bit of an inside joke, but suffice it to say that I'm a Type A personality and the mere thought of an unplanned pot luck sends me right into hyperventalation...and my friends all know it!

Really it was a wonderful afternoon. I felt very loved by my husband for planning the whole thing and very loved by everyone coming. We had a lovely lunch and then dug into a 3 layer german chocolate cake (my fave) made from scratch (frosting AND cake) by my fab. hubby.

Then we got to turn the spotlight on some of our friends and bless them with a gift...which if you ask me...was the best part of the whole day!

Nov 10, 2010

Feed Him!

When I first started dating Jason and found out he hunted, I was all, "Oh my gosh I can't believe you kill Bambie's mom! I'm not sure I can be with such a heartless human." But after looking into the matter, thinking critically about it, and having many a conversation with my boss (Ron) at the time, I hath changed my views. Now I'm all, "You getcha deah yet?"

I could still never pull the trigger myself...but once someone's already done the dirty work I'm good to go. In fact back in college, still working at the country store under Ron's tutilage, I was known to slap a buck knife in my back pocket, jump up on the back of any old pick-up, slit beneath the hocks, tag 'em and string 'em up to weigh 'em. And now that I've got a stud of a hubby who'll shoot 'em for me, I've learned a few good venison recipes along the way.

This afternoon was the first time Jason's has had time to hunt. He got home at 3pm and went right out. I prayed that he would get one. At 3:39 I heard one shot ring out. "Oh I hope that was Jason!" I thought.

Then Jason busted through the door at 4:45pm today and exclaimed, "40 minutes in and my hunting season is over!" Sure enough, the 3:39 shot was his. Thus endeth Jason's 4 year deer drought. And there couldn't be a better year for it. We don't hunt for trophy, we hunt for meat and we could really use it right now.

Ella could see we were all excited and started jumping up and down. We told her, "Daddy got a deer!" To which she exclaimed, "I go see it!" Having already raised a child who loves fishing and hikes mountains on her own, we wanted to add this to her list of outdoorswoman extrordinair qualitities. We bundled up, grabbed a flashlight and headed outside. She looked at it for a second with no big to do and then said, "I go back."

Later in the house, Ella continued to jump around and say, "I saw daddy's deer!" I asked her what we were going to do with it. She thought long and hard and then said, "Put it in the trailer!" I told her it was already in the trailer and asked again what we were going to do with it. Again, she thought long and hard and said, "I go feed him apples!"

Well, bummer sweetie. It's not like Auntie Jen's horse. We can't feed him anymore, but he can feed us!

Nov 8, 2010

Please Help. Really. DO SOMETHING!

What if this was YOUR child?...What if this was Ella? What if this wasYOUR grandchild?
What if this wasYOUR nephew?
Wouldn't you be SCREAMING for HELP?
Wouldn't you be sacrificing EVERYTHING to make her well?
THIS IS someone's CHILD,
Someone's NIECE or NEPHEW.


  • How much money do you spend on going out to eat?
  • How much do you spend on coffee?
  • How much money do you spend on entertainment?
  • How much money do you spend on more clothes, more shoes, more jewelry?
  • How much money do you spend on Christmas presents for people that really NEED nothing?
  • How much money do you spend on toys for a child that has so many they don't know what to do with them all?

Do you spend more on those things than you do on saving these children's lives? If you do, there is something wrong. I have been just as guilty as the next person of this. However, through a book I have been reading and a series my church has been heart has been broken. My eyes have been opened. And my life is changing as a result.

27,000 children die EVERY DAY
from preventable causes like hunger, lack of clean water and preventable diseases.

Americans spent 5 BILLION dollars on halloweeen this year. That is 1 billion more than the annual budget of the Red Cross. That is 2 billion more than the annual budget of the Salvation Army.With our wealth and disposable income (Yes, even in this financially hard time in the U.S.), American's alone could END world hunger.


Find a cause. Find a reputable organization. Get involved. GIVE!

World Vision is just ONE organization you can go through to help. But they are amazing. They are not just putting a band aid on the problem. Through them, you can
sponsor a child and provide them with food, water, healthcare, and education,
give livestock to families and teach them how to use them to provide for their families,
give small business loans so that people can use their talents and work their way out of poverty
Help free CHILDREN from their bondage as sex slaves.
I am not even kidding. If every single person who was going to buy me a Christmas gift, instead sponsors a child, gives to end world hunger, buys a goat for a family, and just simply writes in a card what they did and gives it to me open on Christmas morning, that would bring me the MOST joy of any gift. Please. I need nothing!